Kevin de Bruyne has become one of the best midfielders in the world -- let alone the Premier League -- since arriving at Manchester City in 2015.
Whether that growth continues at the Etihad will depend, at least in part, upon City’s future in the UEFA Champions League. De Bruyne told Belgian outlet HLN on Saturday that he’s “very happy” in Manchester, but he is “just waiting” on the club’s appeal of a two-year ban from European competition before deciding whether to stay at the club.
"I trust my team,” De Bruyne told HLN (translation via Goal). “Once the statement is made, I will review everything. Two years [without European football] would be a long time. If it is one year, I might see."
UEFA banned City from the Champions League and Europa League for two seasons starting in 2020-21 due to financial fair play (FFP) violations. A UEFA investigation determined City deliberately inflated the value of a sponsorship deal in order to break even under FFP rules.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed City’s attempt to throw out the case on procedural grounds in November. City hope their appeal can be heard over video call in May or June, The Athletic’s Sam Lee reported last month. The CAS website has cases listed through June 26, and City’s is not as the court works through a backlog of cases caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
De Bruyne led the Premier League in assists (16) at the time of its shutdown due to the coronavirus. The Belgian has won every trophy possible with City, save for the Champions League.
He’s not itching for a move away from City or the Premier League, which he called the best in the world. But like everyone else on the blue side of Manchester, De Bruyne will wait and see what happens.
"Whatever comes, comes,” he said of a potential transfer. “But it's not that I've tried to leave City in these past five years. I have also remained calm over previous transfers. I have never had any problems and have always waited for my moment. With respect, because I think you get most of it back. Even outside of football.”